The sixth coin of the Mongolia Wildlife Protection series features an animal that many may recognize from places less wild than Siberia. “Campbell’s Hamster” sounds like a child’s pet, partly because it is. The dwarf hamsters that are bred worldwide as pets originated from Mongolia and northeast China. Small rodents who feed on seeds and bugs, they help birds and foxes stay fed on those long Mongolian winters. The species was discovered by W.C. Campbell in 1902. The Campbell species is supposedly known to bite and be less friendly towards humans than the Winter White Russian Dwarf hamster. Perhaps that explains the sinister expression on the coin’s design. If there is ever a horror movie about a hamster, this coin will be on the poster.
The familiar smushed face design is back, and this wild rodent might not be the only thing inspiring fear about the Mongolian series. While each piece is still limited to 2500 pieces and contains Swarovski elements as eyes, a new trend is emerging that is even more frightening than the prospect of reaching through yellow tubing and seeing this face looking back at you from a spinning wheel: fakes.
A number of the Mongolian coins have been sold on ebay recently, despite being clear counterfeits. The good thing for collectors: they look embarrassingly bad, and $1500 wolverines are going for $300. The huge difference in price so is the first clue. Look for the boxes and COA’s from Coin Invest Trust (the maker of the coins)- which admittedly aren’t that elaborate. Those who are keeping up with this high-end collection would be wise to make sure they buy from a reputable source and check the photos carefully.
500 Togrog may not be a lot of Mongolian money, but with huge premiums and a low mintage, some of the early pieces (hedgehog, owl, and wolverine) are particularly hard to find and fun to look at (hedgehog, anyone?) So here’s the news: be careful about filling up your collection with deals that seem too good to be true. Perhaps this will lead to a market in graded and authenticated Mongolians?
The operative word is “Beware”
Especially of the Mongolian coins being shipped from China- ironic, right? Somebody there is making a lot of money selling bizarre looking fakes for a few hundred bucks a coin). The market is becoming saturated with really bad fakes. Take one look at this 2015 new release and guess how the hamster feels about that?
Photos of real coin, fake coin: